DICK ADVOCAAT has told his Sunderland players they have nothing to lose ahead of tomorrow night’s match at high-flying Arsenal.
Defeat at the Emirates Stadium would mean that the Black Cats go into the final weekend of the season with their Premier League future still up in the air.
And though out of Hull, Newcastle and themselves, they would remain the outsiders for relegation going into Sunday’s match at champions Chelsea, Advocaat wants Sunderland’s fate sorted out before then.
They failed to secure top flight status when Leicester held them to a goalless draw at the Stadium of Light on Saturday but have a second chance to clinch safety with their game in hand.
“Everyone expects us to lose but we don’t,” said the Dutchman, whose side have taken 11 points from his seven games in charge.
“So we have nothing to lose.
“When we came here, we knew there were nine games left, including these last two at Arsenal and Chelsea.
“We have never run away from that.
“I think players enjoy playing there and I know that we will give both of them a really difficult time to try and get what we need.”
Wes Brown and Jordi Gomez are still out along with Liam Bridcutt who took a knock against Leicester.
But Jack Rodwell returns to the squad while Adam Johnson could make his first start since February, having been a sub in recent games.
“Adam is a player who can do something different for us,” added Advocaat.
“Everyone in the team works so hard but his style is different from others _ you saw that when he came on at the weekend.”
Arsenal were beaten by Swansea in their last home game but Advocaat has warned that has no relevance to this match.
“With respect to my players, Swansea are on another level to us at the moment,” he said.
“But I still believe we have the quality both in the staff and the players to survive.”